A Bet Won With History

A musician’s reflection on the acceptance of John Williams’ music by such great European classical institutions as Vienna and Berlin

John Williams and Italian pianist Simone Pedroni in Vienna (January 2020, photo courtesy of Simone Pedroni)

We’re proud to present a reflection penned by Italian pianist and conductor Simone Pedroni (originally published by the Italian music magazine Musica) about John Williams’ concerts in Berlin and what they meant for the classical music community around the globe.

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Inspire in absentia: Memoirs from London and Vienna

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The London Symphony Orchestra performing the concert “A Celebration of John Williams” at the Royal Albert Hall on Friday October 26th, 2018 (Photo by Christie Goodwin, courtesy of Royal Albert Hall)

As it was announced just a couple of days before the show, John Williams had to cancel his appearance at the Royal Albert Hall in London on October 26, 2018 due to a last-minute illness that unfortunately caught him upon his arrival in the UK’s capitol. The composer was set to conduct the London Symphony Orchestra in a long-awaited concert featuring his beloved movie music in a career-spanning program. The event (which sold-out in a few hours after it was announced in February 2018) was tremendously anticipated by fans of John Williams all around the world–the concert would have been his first on the European soil after twenty years (his last concert happened indeed in London in 1998 with the LSO). Admirers from all corners of Europe and even from other continents booked flights, hotels and tickets to not miss the event. The orchestra, the Royal Albert Hall management and the composer himself were also anticipating with thrill what promised to be a once-in-a-lifetime evening. The occasion was all the more special because of the true “special relationship” between Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra and, as producer Mike Matessino wrote on the concert’s program notes, with the London music scene in general, a love affair that goes back since the late 1960s, when Williams ended up living and working in the city for several projects.

Continue reading “Inspire in absentia: Memoirs from London and Vienna”